Bile duct cancer is a rare type of cancer, which can only be treated completely by the removal of the tumors with the help of surgery and surgical excision. Before a bile duct cancer surgery is performed, the doctors usually have to understand and evaluate the patterns of the spread of the cancer. The cancer often infiltrates the bile duct as well as other organs such as the liver, pancreas and the lymph nodes. The treatment method is determined by the tumor histology as well as the degree of metastasis.
There are different kinds of surgeries available for bile duct cancers. However, the doctors have to study the cancer and determine the exact procedure of treatment based on the type of cancer, its spread, histology and the stage it is in. One of the first methods of surgery is pancreaticoduodenectomy for distal bile duct cancer. However, if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, this method does not provide a reasonable survival advantage to the patient. In such a case, an extended hepatectomy for hilar cholangiocarcinoma may have to be performed. This is a standard operation for such tumors. In this procedure, a part of the liver and its lobes may have to be re-sectioned along with parts of the lymph nodes. Portal vein reconstruction may be necessary in some cases, where the tumors are inaccessible and difficult to operate. In some cases, the entire liver may have to be removed and a liver transplant becomes necessary.
Bile duct cancer surgery recovery time varies from one person to another and depends completely on the kind of surgery performed. In cases, where vital organs are re-sectioned, removed or transplanted, the recovery may take much longer. The spread of cancer and the exact surgical method used, usually determines the length of recovery time. If there are other preoperative procedures such as removal of obstructions and draining of fluids from the liver and the bile ducts, the entire treatment may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Hospitalization is usually required in such cases.
Bile duct cancer surgery cost is dependent on the type of surgery performed. In the earlier stages, the cost may not be very large, but in later stages, when the cancer becomes metastasized and involves nearby organs and structures, the surgery can get very expensive. The cost is also determined by the kind of hospital chosen for surgery.
The bile duct cancer surgery complications include pain, infection and blockage of bile ducts. In some cases, the body may reject organ transplants and death may occur eventually.